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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bonded Forever, or sometimes not?

What could be simpler and more real than the the love, the caring and the sharing...that a parent and child share?

Taking those first few steps, afraid to fall, yet knowing that someone is there....  ready to provide that 'oh so ready' helping hand. The sheer bliss of being a trusting young child.

Time passes, little children become bigger children and then even more so.

Then come the middle years, and by then, the parents have become old...older(?)
At which point it is their turn to require/demand that helping hand.

But this is the whole point of my note. Is that helping hand always available?
Or not?

Think about it, you would know best...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Random thoughts on India's 60 th Republic Day

60 YEARS AGO- Dr. Rajendra Prasad addressed all Indians-"We must re-dedicate ourselves on this day to the peaceful but sure realization of the dream...dedication to the glorious task of making the peasants, the toilers and the thinkers fully free, happy and cultured." A very happy Republic Day to all....

These were the lines running through my head right through yesterday and this morning. Something re-enforced at the lovely function held at the Embassy of India to mark the occassion.

Listening to the school children singing "Itni Shakti Mujhe Dena Daata" and many other forgotten melodies, I felt Indian, from the core of my very being.

A feeling which is lasting through the day.

Then I heard that the Queen Mary 2  was is in town for just one day, and managed to get there. To get these unforgettable shots...

The day is still young and the Republic day celebrations continue....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

In the 'Lost Valley'? No it's Wadi Shab

I had a real "Adventure of Arabia', last week. That was when ten of us, an all female crew, made our way up to Tiwi and Wadi Shab, here in Oman. 

I frequently believe that I can easily let pictures tell a story, so here's just another example of that.

Sheer beauty, lush vegetation (including palm trees and bananas), along with a completely unspoilt and undisturbed rustic charm- it was all  ours for the asking.

Many years ago, in one of my History text books I'd heard a Mughal king say,  "If  there's ever a heaven on earth,this is it, this is it, this is it". That was with reference to the Shalimar gardens in Kashmir.

Well I'm going to borrow that phrase and use it for this place, the Wadi Shab...

Along with letting my photographs do the rest of the talking

Monday, January 18, 2010

Flower arrangement and the Beauty of Creation

Be it painting, photography, crafts  or flower arrangement, there is a particular satisfaction in creating something that looks good.

What you see here is the evolution of the All Round Circular design..

Simply put- Using the outline material, the floral 'designer'establishes the height and width of the design

The outline material is then radiated at different levels all around from the centre, after which the filler material- smaller leaves and/or flowers are added within the outline.Here the largest leaves are carefully kept in the centre, so as to give depth to the design.

Just about twenty minutes of careful work and Hey Presto, one has an extremely satisfying  and very interesting looking Flower arrangement.

As I  started off by saying,there is a particular satisfaction to creating something.
Even if it lasts a few days, or then endures for a longer period.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sleep deprived- choice or necessity?

Sometimes, I think about it.
Like I'm sure all of us tend to as well.
Why is it that SLEEP is at the bottom of our priority list?

A day has 24 hours, and each of those hours can be used in many ways- work/ leisure/play.
Yet what we tend to do( more often than not) is to extend those waking hours to way more than what can be 'naturally manged'
For we think that sleep will just somehow.....happen.(of its own accord?)

Because if not watchingTV,then we can always remain online,and of course,all our friends worldwide live in different time zones,so it seems to make complete sense.

And so it goes on, day after day, month after month, year after year.
While we continue to get more and more sleep deprived,
or then as someone recently said,"leaner and meaner"(in sleep terms)


Friday, January 15, 2010

A Turning point

We all reach it sooner or later...
A turning point, from where we review our take on life and way of living.

More often than not, it is brought about by illness, either one's own, or then someone close.
Like what recently happened to one of our oldest friends here.

It came on all of a sudden, a nagging headache, followed by nausea and vomiting.
And before long, the pain had intensified beyond his tolerance.

That was when the rounds of the Doctors started, the Clinic, followed by the specialists.
And the battery of necessary as well as some unnecessary tests that followed.

But there are some things that are fated, such as the arrival of a Super-specialist from Chennai, who just happened to be in Oman for the duration of those two vital days, last weekend.And our friend was lucky enough to be seen by him.

A detailed study of the reports then ruled out possible horrifying scenarios such as tumours/ all..He zeroed in on a truant nerve in the lower forehead that was the most likely cause of that problem and started a specific treatment for just that.

A week down the line and things are much better...
The pain  steadily receding, the family much more at peace and a feeling of calm acceptance and understanding.

Most important of all, their realization that this sudden illness has served as a timely reminder, or call it a turning point if you will.
That  we all need to slow least a little as we age.

And never, ever take our health for granted

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The 'Season of flowers'

This is that particular time of the year...

A time when flowers  are out in full bloom.In fact everywhere one looks, one sees bright splashes of colour...

And then some more.

A time when one really can and should make the most of being outdoors, for this too will pass.

So that's what I plan to do. Visit at least one new spot every weekend, and revel in the brightness, colour and happiness that it brings with it.

And so what if we have that intermittent shower every now and then.
In fact, thats the only way, one  might actually get to see yet another rainbow.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Oman Botanic Gardens- A sneak preview

I consider myself lucky, for I've been one of the early birds to have been invited to visit the magnificent Oman Botanic  Gardens currently being set up here in Muscat.

Situated in the Al Khoudh area, where Dinosaurs were actually known to be living, this 425 hectare site will be at the forefront of the world leading botanic institutions.  

Apart from displaying the Flora and fauna of Oman, it has another  unique aspect too. That of displaying the culture that is truly Arabic. Or as in this case, uniquely Omani.

With a Visitors Centre, planned hotels, a train to take people around within it's premises and so very much more, I am confident that it will be a great day out  for all who come to see and more importantly learn from this experience

Walking around that fantastic set up one evening, not so long ago, I marveled at the rapid and very beautiful developmental activity that is is ongoing . A few months later, this Botanic Garden will open its doors to the world and be hailed as one of the masterpieces of recent times. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Blue Moon-2/1/10

I was walking one late evening, when I received a text message from my daughter who was out with friends. The text simply said, "Ma look up at the moon."

While I tried to find the moon  from where I was and failed, there came yet another more excited text one which said, "You must take Pics!"  

Finally figuring out the direction where I should be looking for it, I headed straight home, got out my camera and stand.

Moments later I was out in my balcony and this is what I managed to spot and then click right-away..

So here it is, the waning Blue moon, as seen in Muscat. 
Talk of communication and an opportune moment. Along with the sheer marvels of instant technology.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Craignano in the Shivaliks

We all have places that we love to go back to, again and again. Some possibly more than others.I too have a few and high on the list is a beautiful  resort in Himachal Pradesh called Craignano.

Located at a distance of about 16 kms from Shimla, Craignano is an old pre-independence era retreat named after the Italian Countess of Craignano.At 2149 metres above sea level, today it is an unique picnic spot and not one of the easiest  to gain access, as the drive  upto it is very steep.

But having gone through all of that when one does get to it, it is well worth the effort entailed. For this is what one comes upon. Sheer, raw, natural beauty that one can spend hours gazing at.With  something that you can really never get enough of, for it looks the same,  yet different every time one goes there. Among other things it has a hilltop rest house and well laid out lawns and gardens.With a warmth and amabience that is its very warm and unlike any  that you might have seen earlier.

If you go to just one place in Himachal after Shimla,  go to Craignano. (Or then wait for me to tell you about a few other beautiful spots as well.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The lazy hazy days of summer

"If Winter's  here can spring be  be far behind?"said PB Shelley in his immortal, Ode to the West Wind.

I'm altering it slightly to read as If Winter's here can summer be far behind?

A time days are lazy and sometimes hazy.

When  ducks float on the water with not a care in the world.

When the flowers are in full bloom and butterflies gently descend on them for nectar and honey.

When behaving like a "lotus eater" is pretty much the done thing and nobody bats an eyelid if you choose to sleep the afternoon away.
Or move a  few  notches higher and have the best afternoon teas that you can possibly think of. Complete with scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Or then anything else that just happens to have caught your fancy.
Now, I'd like you to use your own creative streak and think of the myriad other ways that Summer is probably the best time of the year.
Unless of course you decide you like Autumn better, but then that's another whole story

Shades of Old Hindi Cinema.

Once upon a time